We’ve all seen ankle weights before— the iconic pictures of aerobic fitness, a woman clad in colorful workout wear, ankle weights strapped around her ankle.

But ankle weights aren’t just meant for a casual fitness routine. They’re excellent for many other workout styles.

So what are the best out there?

Ankle Weight Benefits

We know how beneficial extra resistance is to your workout (i.e. weighted vests), and ankle weights are no different— and a very affordable way to add to your workout.

If you’re looking to add some extra resistance to your workout, there is range of benefits that come with using ankle weights:

Better balance

Your ankles do a lot of work to keep you balanced all day when you’re up and about. By building up those muscles in your ankles and the muscles in your legs, you’ll add to your support and balance.

Your legs will become used to that extra resistance and be more stable when you’re not wearing weights. That translates to good support in exercises such as deadlifts and squats.

Burn extra calories

This benefit is always a good one to hear. It’s obvious: you’ll burn more calories with ankle weights on that you do with them off because your body is working harder with the weights.

What you’ll get are tougher exercises that burn more calories.

Boost your endurance

For workouts that rely on operating at maximum effort, ankle weights will help you improve your endurance so you’re not redlining early. In other words, you’ll be able to go further for longer.

How? The resistance of ankle weights means your body has to become acclimated to that extra weight. Lose the weights and you’ll find that you’re faster and stronger.

Improve range of motion

Once you start incorporating ankle weights into your workouts, you’ll find that your legs will see a better range of motion.

In turn, you’ll see more tone in your legs. This is especially good news for women in the Box who don’t want to pack on muscle, but would like a more toned look.

How to Use Ankle Weights

Ankle weights can be used for several different workouts: running, walking, certain jumps and some muscle toning and strengthening.

If you add in ankle weights to your routine, remember that resistance training can potentially put too much load on your joints and muscles and that can lead to injury.

Aim to limit your time using the weights and if you notice your gait is altered or you have any muscle strains with the weights, take a break from using them.

Otherwise, add in ankle weights to increase resistance only. Here are some other guidelines for using ankle weights.

  1. Don’t start by using them on new exercises or especially if you’re new to any workouts.
  2. Start with the lowest weight you can.
  3. If you feel any pain or you’ve changed your gait, stop using them.
  4. Limit your use of ankle weights.

What Weight Should You Use?

Start with the lowest weight you can. You’ll have to ease up to heavier weights, but if you’re planning on running with ankle weights, stay under five pounds.

Most strengthening exercises reap the same benefits with the lighter end of weights, such as 2 to 3 pounds. The key is to monitor your body with what provides resistance and doesn’t cause pain.

Exercises You Can Do with Ankle Weights

There are a number of exercises that ankle weights are especially great for. Try adding weights to these exercises:

Glutes

  • standing leg lifts
  • leg swings
  • squat jumps

Core

  • leg raises
  • mountain climbers
  • bicycle crunches

Legs

  • high knees
  • lunges
  • leg raises

Top Ankle Weights Reviewed

Nordic Lifting

Reviewers say these ankle weights (which can also be used as wrist weights) are comfortable compared to other products, and if you’ll be wearing these for a while, that matters.

They’re also noted for their ease of use, which means you can get them on and off with no problems.

Choose these if you want high-quality weights, but don’t need to adjust the weight sizes.

Get Nordic Lifting Ankle Weights on Amazon.com

Reehut Durable Ankle Weight

These are snug, but comfortable ankle weights that reviewers rave about. They’re made of quality material, but don’t sacrifice on comfort.

The Velcro strapping used is sturdy and keeps the weight from shifting around or bouncing. But most reviewers had the most to say about how comfortable these weights fit.

Choose these if you want a comfortable option that you could log some runs in.

Get Reehut Durable Ankle Weight on Amazon.com

Healthy Model Life

These weights are primarily marketed to active women. Users say these weights boast a strong strap so no bounce or movement.

They’re comfortable enough for walking and some even say they’ve worn some of the lighter versions all day.

These weights are sturdy and high quality so you can add more resistance without discomfort.

Choose these if you’re a woman or willing to splurge a little.

Get Healthy Model Life Ankle Weight on Amazon.com

Conclusion

Ankle weights are a great way to add resistance and versatility to your workout. They’re also an affordable way to get more from your exercise routine.

Use them with caution and in moderation and you’ll find that you’re faster and stronger.